Food truck wins award at inaugural Feeders’ Cup



By Ashtin Morgan

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“Eat Well. Die Happy.”

Not only is it their motto, it is a way of life for Andrew Suthers and Kyle Klatka, the co-owning chefs of The Gastro Gnomes Food truck.

The catchphrase is printed on all sides of the truck and tattooed on Suthers’ hands as a simple reminder that they’re passionate about their business.

The idea of opening a food truck came to them after their time working at Palmers Fresh Grill. Between the two of them they had more than 30 years of experience in fine dining and were ready to take the next step.

“I got tired of making other people money. As I got higher up, I was becoming more distant from a customer base,” Suthers said.

To make their dream come true, the first step was to come up with the finances for a truck.

Suthers and Klatka created a page on  Suthers said the two raised $14,000 in 60 days; enough to put a down payment on the food truck and have it built by a company in New Jersey.

Suthers said Gastro Gnomes will be celebrating its two-year anniversary in February and they are looking forward to more opportunities.

They will be opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant in partnership with the Breakroom. Suthers said the set up would be similar to the partnership with West Sixth Brewing and Smithtown Seafood.

The menu changes daily depending on what is available, especially because the pair uses Kentucky grown products. It’s constantly changing to keep things interesting for customers. Recently they’ve been serving up buttermilk fried chicken and waffle cones, crabby patties, a green chili cheeseburger, and shrimp and pesto risotto. Two popular items on the menu are the chicken and waffle cone and the shark tacos.

They said they enjoy working around a more nomadic lifestyle, completely different from restaurants.

The Gastro Gnomes won best overall food truck at the Feeders’ Cup last weekend. Newcomers and regulars alike visited the chefs.

“It was awesome,” Suthers said. “We’re already looking forward to doing it next year.”

Suthers said the duo pushed out large amounts of food in relatively little time.

“We thought, let’s put something out quickly,” Suthers said. “By 8 o’ clock we had made 1,200 servings.”

They served a fried ramen fritter, filled with roasted chicken. The noodles were soaked overnight in a soy ginger broth and Suther described the dish as a crunch soup dumpling.

The Gastro Gnomes have not participated in a lot of festivals, not because they haven’t been asked, but because they don’t have the capital.

“Honestly, we’re a young business,” Suthers said. “We just do our thing.”